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Adam Summers on the benefits of undergraduate research

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 11:00

A new analysis by scientists from Auburn University, the University of Washington and three other collaborating institutions suggests the value of structured research programs for undergraduates extends to society as a whole by encouraging participants to seek advanced degrees in scientific and technological fields.

In an article published this week in the journal BioScience, the researchers reported that college undergraduates who take part in summer research training programs — specifically, in this study, the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Sites initiative — are 48 percent more likely to pursue STEM-related doctoral degrees than demographically matched students who apply but are not selected.

“This program is one of NSF’s most visible efforts to increase STEM research and literacy, and it involves an early exposure to paid research for undergraduates,” said paper co-author Adam Summers, a UW professor of aquatic and fishery sciences and biology at Friday Harbor Laboratories. “An outstanding question is whether these programs actually boost people up or just stir the pot. This paper provides really nice evidence that participation in this program leads to greater STEM success as measured by awards, grad school enrollment and papers published.”

Read the full article at UW News.

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